There were many preconceived notions about what Waco, Texas was going to be like as a city, given its national reputation courtesy of David Koresh. It wouldn’t be considered a destination with miles of technical single track and super friendly locals who opened their homes and their park to us. The spirit of XTERRA friendliness was alive and well when we got there. Cameron Park and the Brazos River offered a nice venue for a brand new stop on the XTERRA tour.
Unfortunately for me, we also found the first week of “summer” with 93 degree temperatures and soaring humidity. Stupidly I spent too much time focusing on riding the course than avoiding the heat and had some troubles, dropping rapidly from first to third before the run even started and that is where I finished. Renata Bucher rode past me like I had stopped to wait for her which was awesome to witness and Shonny was consistent and faster than me on the run so she took the next step on the podium. Emma Garrard had a career best fourth place to rock the MelRad oval on the podium and Christine Jeffrey claimed the last step. I was amazed at how fast we actually completed the race, a blistering sub-2:30 when it seemed the race would be over 3 hours in preriding. Never have I underestimated how fast we would go on a course like I did here. Well, in particular I underestimated how fast Renata would be..ha!
I had the pleasure of staying at the Miars family compound, complete with a golf course and a 25 yard pool on site. That was pretty awesome. The course was a quick 20 minute drive and there we found a huge city park with miles and miles of singletrack. The race was almost 100% singletrack and reminded me of the riding in Ontario. There weren’t any long climbs but there were millions of little steep ones, over and over and over again. It made the course really demanding because there were no long periods of rest. The highlight was a section called Vortex that included a sweet half pipe run where you rode up the sides all the way down the canyon which reminded me of “No Horses” on Hornby Island… some classic fun singletrack in BC. The run was similar with a few more open sections but also the longest climb in the race. Add to that an uphill swim (the swim seemed like we were going upstream the whole time because downstream we had a headwind and chop) and a whole lot of heat that I personally was NOT ready for and you have a difficult race.
Not much to say about my race. It was abundantly clear that I came too late to acclimate properly for the heat conditions and as a result did not perform how I had planned. I really didn’t feel that great right from the gun in the swim and it didn’t improve much as the race continued. I often underestimate how much the heat crushes me when I am not used to it and thus, the result is my race. Shonny and Renata really have opened the season strongly and I can’t afford to make any mistakes and not be behind at the finish.
After the race I spent a bit of extra time in Waco before my European trip was scheduled. It was awesome to spend some time swimming with the Waco Tri Club who do an open water swim on Monday nights at 6pm. After our little paddle in the river we all hung out and drank margaritas on the grass and talked triathlon. Not exactly a perfect recovery drink but an absolutely fabulous way to spend a balmy summer evening. Thanks for inviting me guys!
So off to sunny Sardinia. It has been a long, long time since I have made the journey to race the European tour… lets hope my quick trip to Italy is a successful one. That’s all folks!